To Intervene or Not to Intervene, that is the Question
President Obama is deciding whether to intervene in Syria against the Assad regime. I think any hesitation is for show, and the decision to intervene has been made. Intervening in the Syrian Civil War is not popular, so I guess I should give Obama some credit for having a conviction he is willing to defy public opinion on. What that conviction is, I am not quite certain. The Assad regime is a revoltingly bloody tyranny even by Arab standards. However, the main rebel factions are closely allied with groups like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, with the Muslim Brotherhood backed factions being dominant. In Egypt there are constant accusations by Egyptians, largely correct, that the administration has tilted in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, so perhaps that is the explanation for the desire of the administration to get involved in Syria.
My own opinion is that uttered by Henry Kissinger in regard to the Iraq-Iran war of the eighties: a pity they both can’t lose. I see no interest of the United States furthered by intervention, other than a mild setback to Iran which has become the main backer of the Assad regime, and I see no humanitarian benefit. It is very troubling that Obama is not even making a pretense of gaining the approval of Congress. It is richly ironic to see some of the harshest critics of President Bush and the war in Iraq, now rallying behind Obama’s Syrian adventure.
Neo-neocon at Legal Insurrection has a first rate parody of the to be or not to be soliloquy from Hamlet for Obama:
To strike, or not to strike: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous Assad,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To attack: to dither
No more; and by attack to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That Syria is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To act, to attack;
To attack: perchance to depose: ay, there’s the rub;
For in its wake what next may come
Whether or not Assad shuffles off this worldwide stage,
Should give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of intervention;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of chemical war, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his mark make
With a bare missile? who would tyrants bear,
To defy the red lines that he drew?
But that the dread of something afterward,
The unknown consequences in whose grip
A legacy might founder, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Go here to read the rest. Ah, I imagine those Norwegian leftists are now regretting that Nobel Peace Prize they bestowed upon Obama for the glorious achievement of not being George Bush.